Woodcut showing the processing of ore from mercury and the purification of silver, c. 1845. As the image suggests, production at that time frequently took place in smaller facilities as opposed to highly industrialized factories. On a different note, the image also shows that employees were not provided with any sort of protection against the highly toxic mercury vapors. At that point in time, environmental or occupational health issues had barely entered into the public consciousness. Several decades later, however, during the heyday of industrialization, the harmful effects of factory pollution and hazardous working conditions began to generate increased public resistance.

Processing Mercury and Silver (c. 1845)

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Source: bpk-Bildagentur, image number 20012514. For rights inquiries, please contact Art Resource at requests@artres.com (North America) or bpk-Bildagentur at kontakt@bpk-bildagentur.de (for all other countries).

© bpk / Dietmar Katz